Avatar: The Last Airbender TV Poster Image

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Asian mysticism meets epic fiction in top-notch 'toon.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Educational value

Though the show is intended more to entertain than to educate, kids might learn something about martial arts traditions.

Positive messages

More thoughtful than your average action cartoon, this show includes themes that touch on bigger-picture issues like spirituality and duty, as well as courage and integrity.

Positive role models

Aang is a happy-go-lucky hero who receives lots of help on his quest. The narrator is a female whose powers initially bring Aang back to life. Elders are present and generally revered, but the teenage males sometimes act irrationally and often aggressively.

Violence & scariness

This is a martial arts-themed cartoon. Tribes are at war, though traditional Asian concepts of honor and respect are integrated into the action as well.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Avatar: The Last Airbender isn't a one-dimensional display of cartoon violence. The well-developed fantasy material includes a spiritual aspect that underlies much of the plot, making it an epic martial arts tale, rather than a bang-'em-up show. As long as you're OK with the show's level of action, it's a fine pick for grade-schoolers.

What's the story?

In AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, imbalance has fallen on the people as a result of the Fire Nation having declared war on all of the other tribes. Harmony has fallen to the wayside, forcing the surviving tribes to scatter to the winds. All the while, a uniting force has been missing for a century's time, as war has been raging. This force is embodied by the Avatar -- a being who encompasses mastery and balance of all of the elements. This peaceful presence had been lost to the world -- that is, until he comes to life in the body of an 11-year-old boy named Aang. Though Aang is the last of his tribe, he possesses a happy-go-lucky nature, which immediately endears him to the siblings who have discovered him frozen in the ocean. They soon realize the extent of Aang's powers and accompany him on his quest to realize his past and his present place in the world.

Is it any good?


An epic fantasy about mythological tribes of people were represented by the elements water, earth, air, and fire, this may look like a video game send-up, but it's really closer to Japanese-style anime. Mixing magical fantasy and comedy, martial arts challenge sequences with Godzilla-style monsters, Avatar: The Last Airbender goes beyond the everyday action cartoon, bringing an interesting mix of Asian mysticism and epic fiction to the small screen. Take note -- adults may enjoy this one as much as the kids do.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the martial arts tradition, concepts of reincarnation, and elemental imbalance in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

  • What would you want to come back as in another life? What skills does martial arts help teach?

  • How do the characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender demonstrate courage and integrity? Why are these important character strengths?

TV details

Premiere date:February 21, 2005
Cast:Dante Basco, Jack De Sena, Zach Tyler
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Sports and martial arts, Adventures
Character strengths:Courage, Integrity
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Avatar: The Last Airbender was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bycvanorder April 9, 2008

Great family show

My husband and I enjoy the shows as much as our two boys, 6 and 8. The story and character develop are well above average for a children's show. There are many "teaching" moments in each episode. The adults characters are respected and there are consequences for negative behaviors by the younger characters. Overall the brightest spot in the Nick line up.
Teen, 13 years old Written bySweetDisposition March 8, 2011

Easily one of the best shows Nick has ever put out.

Sadly, I haven't watched this show in years, so I don't remember all the major plot points. Aang, the protagonist in our story, is the last of the airbenders. He is discovered frozen in ice by siblings Katara and Sokka of the Southern water tribe, and they soon after realize he is the last airbender, and therefore the last person to become the peacekeeper of their land- The Avatar. As they journey across the land to teach Aang the 4(?) elements, they meet up with benders of their respective elements, and all team up and travel together. Yes, there are fighting scenes, the main antagonist through most of the series if a member of the fire tribe- Prince Zukko. The elements are martial arts are woven together so cleanly, and is a different and interesting fighting style. Sex stuff is of not much concern, the only kiss I can remember was in the final episode. This show is great. It is a must watch. You can access episodes via Youtube, Mega Video, or the Nicktoons channel.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byJohn M April 9, 2008

One of the Best Shows on TV for Adults or Children

Excellent show that depicts children that act like real children who argue, make mistakes, and sometimes need turn to wise adults for guidance and advice. Deep epic themes and plots that an adult can appreciate but a child can also enjoy. Some themes based on Eastern philosophy but through a distinctly American lens. Better than almost any other science fiction or fantasy show on TV today, even for adults.